In her four-hour-long speech March 1 to open the National Congress’s 2013 legislative session, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sharply challenged the leaders of Europe and the world on the issue of the genocidal destruction of entire nations by a minority of financial predators—the Troika, in Europe’s case—whose allied speculative vulture funds are also seeking to rip apart Argentina. Implicit in her speech was the message, “there is life after the IMF,” easily extended to “after the euro,” as Helga Zepp-LaRouche has stated.
There is an alternative to this genocide, she said, as thousands of euphoric citizens, including members of the LaRouche organization, gathered outside the Congress to watch the President’s speech on giant TV screens (see the video on http://larouchista.com/English,”On the Ground from Argentina.”) She offered a sweeping panorama of what her own government and the 2003-2007 government of her late husband, President Nestor Kirchner, have accomplished since 2003 without the IMF’s tutelage, with special emphasis on defending the general welfare of the Argentine people—expanding social security, healthcare, infrastructure development, housing and education, among other things—and achieving the highest rate of industrial development in Ibero-America over the past decade, at 24.1%.
Fernandez especially underscored that scientific and technological development have been a cornerstone of the Kirchner governments over that same decade—it is “my weakness,” my passion, she said—rebuilding the scientific infrastructure that had been decimated under the military junta/IMF regime of the 1970s-1990s that drove tens of thousands of scientists and university students out of the country. But today, with our efforts over the past decade, Fernandez happily reported, Argentina is the most scientifically-developed nation in Ibero-America, with three scientists for every 1,000 inhabitants, outpacing both Brazil and Mexico. This will continue to be a focus in the future, she noted, because the country depends on it.
Fernandez powerfully challenged world leaders, taking the case of Argentina’s legal battles against the vulture funds out of the realm of Argentina and addressing the existential global issues involved. Argentina isn’t a planet unto itself, as some Argentines tend to think, she told her countrymen. It is a resident of planet Earth, and people must understand what’s at stake.
The vulture fund case is “a leading case,” Fernandez said, not just in terms of economics or finances, but also a political test case. It is absolutely linked to what is occurring in Europe. “The issue is whether the world’s major leaders, the members of the G-20, the heads of large multilateral lending agencies, and the governments of various nations of the world are going to let a handful [of financial predators] —they can fit in the palm of my hand—ruin the entire world, ruin societies with millions of unemployed, desperate people who are committing suicide, who’ve lost their jobs, can’t go to school, who’ve lost their homes; or whether they are going to place their societies, their nations, their people, their histories and their patrimony” above this tiny minority. “That is what is at stake in the world today. People must understand this,” Fernandez said.
Referencing Italy, she asked: What’s wrong with European leaders? Fernandez asked. “How can it be that they want to sacrifice entire nations to small groups” which just like these vulture funds that are preying on Argentina—”seek to impose conditions on the whole world?”
Fernandez discussed Argentina’s 2001 default and sovereign debt restructuring, adding that today there are many more countries that are bankrkupt. “It’s very likely that many other countries, sooner or later, despite denials, restructurings, bailouts …are going to have to restructure their debts with big haircuts and long [repayment] periods. Otherwise, how are countries like Greece, Spain, and now Italy, as we’re discovering, which has the drama of having no government, going to pay?”
What infuriates the IMF, she said, is that “fundamentally, we’ve been successful without following their policies. In fact, we’ve gone against each and every one of the things they told us we had to do, and we’ve been fine. That’s why they want to punish us; they won’t forgive us for that.”